President Obama has made another huge concession to developers and drillers this week. He has abandoned a pledge to restore eligibility for federal wilderness protection to millions of acres of undeveloped land in the West. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who was himself viewed as a decidedly anti-environmental Senator before being picked by Obama, announced that millions of acres will no longer be designated as “wild lands.”
As with civil libertarians, environmentalists have long been dismissed by the White House as having no where to go in the next election. Accordingly, Obama continues to rollback on environmental protections such as his radical expansion of coal permits as well as his opening up of pristine areas of the East Coast to oil exploration.
The effort to protect the lands was blocked by Congress but environmentalists wanted the Administration to fight on this ground. Various business groups and conservative members of Congress heralded the President’s move. At risk are some of the most pristine untouched lands left in the country.